A Complete Guide to Adding a New Product to Your Ecommerce Store
Posted May 23, 2017 by Jessica Kegerreis in Digital Marketing, eCommerce Website, Marketing Strategy
Adding a new product to your ecommerce store may sound like a simple task, but as you probably know, it’s quite a lengthy process. A process that needs to be planned and executed with intentionality in order to benefit the most from the many opportunities it offers.
From merchandising to testing the first purchase, below is a complete look at the lifecycle of adding a new product to your ecommerce store.
Adding a New Product to Your Ecommerce Store
Product & Profitability Opportunity Research
The first step to adding a new product to your ecommerce store’s product offerings is identifying what that product will be. An easy place to start your product research is by looking first at some keyword research. By using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, you can get a good sense of what customers are interested in by simply researching keywords that are related to your store’s current product lineup. Look for nuggets where the search volume is high but when doing a search for it, the competition is low.
In this early exploratory phase, be sure to do competitor research to see who your competition will be for this product, how much they charge, what they rank for in the search engines for the product, and how they are currently marketing the product.
It’s also important to do a pricing and profitability analysis to confirm that the product has the ability to sell, ship and potentially be discounted while still providing a profit. This will heavily depend on where you source the product from so research who your supplier(s) will be for the product. Make sure the suppliers are able to fulfill orders in the quantities and time frames you’ll need when it comes time to reorder.
Forecasting & Purchasing
The next step in the process is estimating the demand you anticipate for the product. This will factor in how many units you think you will sell in a certain time frame and how much inventory you are comfortable buying and storing while you figure out how the product sales perform on your ecommerce store.
Next, it’s time to purchase the product, which may entail securing the finances to do so with either a loan or by moving funds around in order to make the investment in this new product. Create and place the PO, which should integrate with your inventory system and allow you to track the lead times for repurchasing when product inventory is low.
Warehousing & Packaging
Now that the product has been purchased and the supplier is busy fulfilling your order, you can switch focus to getting the warehouse prepared to receive the shipments of product. Setup the product with your warehouse/fulfillment provider to include the weight and dimensions, create SKUs and any child SKUs the product will have, set shipping rules, and define packaging instructions.
After this, it’s back to research mode to do more keyword research and to determine an SEO strategy for the product. Your research will help define what the Product Title should be in order to capitalize on the terms with the highest search volume.
The keyword research, and the nature of the product itself, may also suggest the need for a new Category. That is, if you intend to bundle out that one product with other products, a new Category will help organize the website but also aid in your overall SEO strategy for that product.
Another outcome from this ecommerce store research is insights into developing a content strategy. Consider topics, questions, videos, articles or infographics about this product that you can create so as to build up your ecommerce website’s relevancy for the product.
Product & Category Description
Before you can add the product to your ecommerce store, you will need to gather all of the information about the product and then write a compelling product description. Don’t underestimate the category description. It can be just as important, if not more important in some cases, than the product description. Be sure to incorporate the SEO terms you identified in your research phase for both the product & category descriptions.
Product Photography / Videography
Selling a product online requires good product photography. Without the convenience of being able to touch, see and interact with a product, the customer relies heavily on the product photos and videos to help them understand the quality and craftsmanship.
Secure a sample of the product and get photos taken. Plan and shoot any videos that help the customer better understand the product so as to make the purchase decision easier.
Remember to name all photo and video assets with intentionality. A naming convention that aligns with your SEO strategy works to build your ecommerce store’s relevancy for the product, and it helps keep your photos organized.
Add Category & Product to Ecommerce Store
With all of the information collected and the assets created or secured, it’s time to add the product to your ecommerce store. Add the product to your store. Set the page title and meta description following your SEO plan. Populate the description, add photos and alt tags, add or import any reviews (if applicable), post the videos, setup product options, enter in the cost, retail price, sale price, weight, dimensions, sort order, and then assign the product to its category(ies).
Identify Product Upsell Opportunities
Take a moment to consider this product, what the customer is doing when browsing for it, and what they may also want or need as a result of showing interest in this product. Assign other products that you will use as Upsell Opportunities when a customer is purchasing your new product. Be sure to make these products related to the initial product and that the decision to purchase them is an easy one. That means the products should be affordable as compared to the one they’re purchasing.
Doing this early on will help collect data so you can understand and improve the upsell strategy moving forward.
Plan Product Launch Campaigns
Launching a new product on your ecommerce store can be highly planned and marketed, or quietly released and unadvertised. The range is vast and the plans you make for your product’s launch may hinge on the marketing budget you have set aside for it. Make sure that the product launch is considered from a marketing perspective so that you have budget allocated for a promoting the product.
Product promotion comes in many forms. The most common to consider are:
Define KPIs for Reporting Profits
Before you actually launch the product on your ecommerce store, take a moment to document what Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) you will be tracking as a way to measure the success and profitability of the product.
Make certain you have dashboards, spreadsheets, and Google Analytics for Ecommerce updated and ready to begin tracking the product’s performance from the start of the launch.
Consider setting goals and benchmarks for the product as a way measure the long-term viability of the product for your ecommerce store.
Customer Service is another aspect of adding a new product to your store that requires consideration and planning before launch.
Create a Product Overview sheet with all of the important information on it to give to your Customer Service team. This will better prepare them for a potential influx of questions and/or a sudden interest in the product.
An FAQ sheet about the product is another helpful tool to provide to your Customer Service team. It will also help you think through and anticipate any problems that may come up regarding the product so you can plan and control the situations proactively.
After receiving the product and getting everything set with your fulfillment house, it’s time to launch the product. Do a final check that all of the information on your website is still correct, update inventory levels and any other last minute information. Finally, make your product and categories live on your ecommerce store.
But wait, there’s more… Once the product is live, do a test purchase of the product to make absolutely certain that the user’s experience is exactly as you intend it to be. Consider doing a “secret shopper” test with your Customer Service to confirm that they understand the product and answer questions about it correctly.
If you have promotions tied to the launch of the product, test each of them separately. Try each and every coupon code, test any and all paid ads, and click through all of your emails–verifying that each one is setup properly and getting the customer efficiently through to the purchase of the product.
And it’s as simple as that, folks!
But seriously, there are a lot of steps in this process and each one holds valuable opportunities that can make or break the success of your new product. Don’t underestimate how long it will take and remember that adding a new product to your ecommerce store begins with understanding the entire lifecycle so you can make the most of each step.